Tag Archive: podcast

  1. United Service Technologies: Hiring, Retaining, and Managing a Multigenerational Workforce

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    Standards for customer experience are higher than ever. On each episode of Aquant’s Service Intel Podcast, we sit down with leaders that are raising the bar and creating incredible experiences for their customers. These top names in the industry have all agreed to share what they’ve learned about navigating today’s service landscape so our listeners can not only get inspired, but put their own bar-raising service plans into action.

    In a recent episode, we invited Rodger Smelcer, President of United Service Technologies (UST), a leading provider of maintenance and repair services for commercial kitchens, refrigeration systems, and HVAC systems. Rodger shared his insights, based on personal experience, on hiring, retaining, and managing a multigenerational workforce. 

    Challenges associated with managing a multigenerational workforce have only intensified over the years as skill gaps continue to widen. Each generation has different values, experiences, and attitudes that shape their work ethic and expectations. To effectively manage a multigenerational workforce, companies must understand these differences and create a work environment that accommodates everyone’s needs.

    Hiring and Retaining Multigenerational Workforce

    When it comes to hiring a workforce that spans multiple generations, UST looks for individuals who share the company’s core values, including integrity, customer service, and safety. Rodger emphasized the importance of finding people who are a good fit for the company culture and possess strong soft skills, regardless of their age. UST’s recruitment strategy includes using multiple channels to reach potential candidates, including online job boards, social media, and referrals from existing employees. Roger also noted that the company has found success in hiring both employees with experience in the automotive industry as well as military veterans, who often have valuable skills and experience that are transferable to UST’s industry.

    Retaining employees from different age groups can be a challenge, as each generation has different priorities and expectations. Today, younger generations are less interested in pursuing careers in field service compared to 20 years ago an job jopping is far more common than it used to be. According to Roger, UST has found success in offering standard benefits like a comprehensive benefits package, including health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. In addition to that, the company views offering ongoing training and development opportunities as a critical benefit, which can appeal to employees who want to advance their careers.

    Roger emphasized the importance of creating a positive work environment that accommodates everyone’s needs. For example, UST has a “resume-building culture” which means their employees are not only building the skills and knowledge they need to develop professionally but UST is helping them document those skills.

    Managing a Multigenerational Workforce

    Managing a multigenerational workforce requires a flexible approach that can adapt to each generation’s needs. Roger noted that UST’s management team receives training on how to effectively communicate with employees from different age groups. This includes understanding each generation’s communication style, work preferences, and career goals.

    UST has a flat organizational structure as opposed to one with numerous layers of management. However, this doesn’t mean that they don’t recognize and promote employees that deserve it. Roger said, “The best way to get promoted is to promote someone beneath you. Lift them up and that will lift you.” He also highlighted the importance of recognizing and celebrating each employee’s contributions to the company. UST holds regular employee recognition meetings, which can help boost morale and create a sense of community among employees.

    Managing a workforce can be a bumpy road, but any company can do it seamlessly with the right strategies in place. UST’s approach to hiring, retaining, and managing employees from different age groups provide valuable insight into how companies can create a positive work environment that accommodates everyone’s needs. By focusing on core values, offering comprehensive benefits, and creating a flexible work environment, UST has attracted and retained top talent from different generations, which has helped the company stay competitive in its market.

    Check out the full podcast here!

  2. Selling Service: Inside Philips’ Unconventional Team Structure

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    Standards for customer experience are higher than ever. On each episode of Aquant’s Service Intel Podcast, we sit down with leaders that are raising the bar and creating incredible experiences for their customers. These top names in the industry have all agreed to share what they’ve learned about navigating today’s service landscape so our listeners can not only get inspired, but put their own bar-raising service plans into action. 

    Recently, we had a great conversation with Peter Lee, Senior Manager of Service Sales and Marketing at Philips. When the medical device manufacturer went through a couple of acquisitions, the experience shifted Peter’s perspective on the most effective approach to sales and service. He noticed that the acquired companies primarily used their field service engineers as a service sales channel — on top of their core roles. Seeing a better way, his team worked to shift away from a model where field service engineers sell service. Instead, they focused on one where a dedicated sales rep prioritizes driving service business. 

    Here are just a few of many great takeaways from our conversation with Peter. 

    Think Differently About Roles and Responsibilities

    As far back as the 1990s, the service technicians at Philips had also doubled as dedicated salespeople. But following the multiple acquisitions, Peter and his team decided to shift the model: a transition from field service engineers selling service to an approach where a dedicated inside sales rep drove the service business. 

    Of course, having a dedicated sales rep focused on driving the service business requires a different approach to structuring teams than many of us are used to. While face-to-face interactions are still important for these inside sales reps, they also do a lot of back-office work such as preparing quotes and helping with pricing. And, if they need additional help with this work, they turn to equipment salespeople, rather than field service engineers. This structure allows technicians to focus on delivering great service, further enabling Philips’ value proposition. 

    It also provides growth opportunities that support the company’s recruiting efforts. Often, a team member will begin in one of these service sales roles and transition over time to selling capital equipment. And, it avoids a common conflict of interest for engineers: fixing something for a customer, but also wanting to sell something during the same visit. Having a dedicated team for service sales avoids that altogether. 

    Focus on Selling Service Contracts Alongside the Initial Purchase

    Every customer is going to need a repair at some point. And every customer is going to need to upgrade eventually, too. Because of this, Philips lets customers pay for service upfront as part of their capital expenditure or operating budget. Peter has found that this is the most effective way to sell service, despite what we might hear about customers not wanting to pay for a problem before it arises. 

    At Philips, sales reps are trained to emphasize the value of investing in a service contract up-front — like a customer never having to spend the time to issue a PO and schedule a service call if a system goes down and the ripple effects this has on doctors and patients. Investing in repairs up-front can also minimize unexpected bills, especially for devices that have high-priced parts. 

    Focus on Obsolescence at the Point of Sale, Too

    Many Philips customers purchase systems over a period of time. For example, a hospital network is not going to buy 20 or 30 ultrasounds all at once. Instead, they might buy 10 this year, seven next year, and eight the following year. That results in the same systems, but different versions. 

    So Philips has a technology obsolescence program to ensure that all systems are going to perform at the same level and entire fleets are standardized. This makes training easier, too, since everything has the same look and feel, workflow, and features. And of course, if they’ve invested in this up-front, the customer doesn’t have to hit the bank again to pay for upgrades.

    Create a Service Partnership with the Customer

    Many of Philips’ customers have highly skilled engineers that service a lot of their hospital equipment. Some of that equipment might be simple to maintain, but others are more complex such as x-rays and MRIs. 

    Based on in-house teams and their different capabilities, Philips focuses on service offers that benefit the customer, but also still bring a benefit to them. For example, hospital engineers may take the first call and resolve the issues they can. While some issues might still require a field service engineer from Philips, this reduces the number of times it happens and saves the customer money.

    Know That Team Changes Like this Take Time

    Peter acknowledged that implementing a different approach to driving service business takes time. It’s important to have the basic building blocks in place before focusing on building out different programs. 

    You want to make sure you have a good maintenance service program and are delivering on an SLS. But once you do, it’s great to look at opportunities to grow your business outside the traditional “break and fix” approach. There’s so much that customers will appreciate in terms of additional programs and additional features. Ultimately, all of those programs and features ensure they’ll benefit through the whole lifecycle of a system. And that leads to greater customer loyalty and a greater likelihood of future purchases.

    Listen to the full episode for more of our conversation with Peter. And subscribe to the Service Intel podcast so you don’t miss any of our upcoming conversations with service industry leaders. Service Intel podcast can be found on Spotify, Apple Music, or wherever you listen to podcasts!